Thursday, January 21, 2010

Audition


Alright.  Worked a full shift today.  Time running out at the job.  Tomorrow there is a big "accounting" meeting at work, so there is a lot of work to be done.

Things will begin changing when I have more time to devote to this space as well as to making my videos.  I had a brainstorming session today with my old college roommate and we were thinking that the web series may be a played out idea.  The web sketch comedy show - not so much.  We are going to mine that fertile comedy ore for all that its worth.  Who knows, maybe if the right big wig catches one of my punch-lines then maybe they will be putting me in the 11:30 timeslot on NBC next. 

I'm still spit-balling good column/post ideas to put up here over the weekend and next week for your reading pleasure.  For the NBA fan out there, I think I will be doing a series of All-Star Game related posts coming up.  The first one will be a play-by-play of the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, which I conveniently have on the flips side of my Magic Johnson DVD.  Not the most competitive game, but my lord when you get a breakdown of the rosters - you will be salivating.

Anyway, more to come as always. Just stay loyal, stay with me and you will be repaid by my riches.

Now, the next installment of From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt.

Tom

I saw the snow.  The trees could’ve been birches, but they were white with snow so who would’ve known.  I walked watching the tracks glow with small blue flame because a train had just passed by with its electricity.  Tracks that run with fire.  I stepped around them as I saw the train moving away to the station.  My feet left marks, showing pebbles, gravel.  I stepped over fire and down the slope. I almost slipped, seeing an odd root sticking above the white.  The day was quiet, white and grey except for a crow.  Where the hill dipped, when I looked straight – when you look straight – the sixteenth green rose up –rises up -, revealed wealth, revealed the summer golf and martini, the winter sled and promise of a kiss.  Where the hill dipped – where it dips – there was the creek.  I sloshed stepped in boots to the creek.  Leaves below, leaves with snow.  My soul was –is – a soul swooning in snow.  My soul was a flake.  The creak was frozen with black holes of water.  I heard the train whistle.  I thought of my boots on the blue and grey upholstery.

“Feet off the seat.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Ticket?”

“Thanks.”

“Switch at Huntington.”

    The creek had black holes of water in it.  The snow had leaves.  White snow.  White golf  balls.  Clear martinis.  What color was a kiss? What color is a kiss?

    “I’ll be right back,” Natalie says and slips back into her house.  Correction, her parents house.
    I sit and look out through the screen of the screened in porch.  I put my boots up on one of the white curved legs of the table.  I bet they bring this table in during the winter.  I bet they store it up in the shed that is over there in the corner, where behind it there are bushes, shrubs, a small wood separating the homes.  And maybe within that wood there is a fence separating yards.  A dog barks – barked – and Natalie tries to catch the bus to school.  I didn’t know this neighborhood so well.  But I didn’t know other neighborhoods when I was a kid.  I just knew mine, that corner with the cracked curb, where for one year I watched as James drove to school with his friends and laughed passing me by.  I didn’t really care.  That’s the way it worked.  All younger brothers wanted to ride in cars like their older brothers.  But I looked up at that tree across the street.  The tree with the perfect piney branches to climb and I climbed it.  And I was on top while the other kids tried to make fun of  me. “What the fuck are you doing up there, retard?” And the two stoners smoked, crouching by the bushes.  I was still on top when the bus came and I could see those two emergency escape hatches.  Seeing them from the top of that tree was one of the best feelings I’ve ever known.  When I climbed down I could still smell the exhaust, but it was mixed with the fresh pine stink of my shirt.  I started walking towards Ridgeway when dad slowed by.  I knew I’d get caught.

    “How’s that English class, stranger?” He tipped an imaginary cowboy hat.

    “Just mindin’ my A’s and B’s and C’s” I played along.

    He tapped the wheel. “Get in, Thomas.”

    Then we were off.  I know I learned something when we got there.

    I hear the gentle touch and swish of the rubber on the end of the door.  Natalie is back.  She carries out two thin cylinder glasses on a tray like she’s a waitress.  I’m glad to see they’re filled with club soda.

    “I hope you don’t mind,” she says.

    “I don’t.”

    “I figured this would be best.”

    “It is.”

    She sits down across from me.  Then she nudges the chair so that it scrapes at the floor and she is closer to me.  She crosses her legs with the sex and easiness that all girls seem to be able to do.  If she were riding on a train with me I’d try to talk to her. I’d drop my Times, or maybe she’d drop hers.

    “Are we old now?” she asks.

    “No,” I say. “I don’t think so.”

    “Then we’re acting like rather sophisticated sad bastards aren’t we?’

    I laugh.  It hits me right in my chin and my cheeks respond.

    “I guess we are.”

    “But your mom just died so..”

    She feels closer to me.  And I think she is closer to me.  I can smell her hair.  It smells like shampoo, but not fruity or just clean.  There is something else to it.  Its feminine but not like perfume.  It’s more natural and feminine than perfume would ever dream.

    “Let me ask you something, Natalie?”

    “Proceed, senator.”

    “Why weren’t we always like this?”

    “What do you mean this?”  She seems taken aback.

    “I don’t know,” I look at the fizzing bubbles in my glass.  The taste of opening air so refreshing.  What did my escaping breaths look like from the black of the creek among the ice and the snow?  That kid – Sirch was his last name – never told me.  He’d just wave and smile at me whenever he saw me after that.  Big as he was. So different from me.  Strong, and me? Strange in loafers.  Strange with messy hair.  Strange like a saint or an old photograph from the 1920’s.  If only a bubble could pop open and tell me an answer.  Show me a picture of myself sitting here with this girl – a woman now maybe and I’m sure in many ways – two noses, one upturned, and let me know the truth.  Let me know the inner light that two postures - making one together, one scene – have, let me know what they can reveal.  Patron and paritioner summoning saint and saviour.  The bubbles are rising, my drink is breathing.  I am too.

    “I mean how we are so cozy right now,” I say.

    “Cozy?”

    “Yes.”

    “I don’t know.  But I do know what you mean.  There is something strange going on between us right now.  And I’ve never come out and said it when I’ve felt it before.  I don’t know if I’ve felt something like this.  I’ve usually just been kissed or tried to kiss.  I’ve never sat with club soda in September.”

    “You speak beautifully.”

    “It is cozy, isn’t it?”

    “Yes.”

    Our drinks explode at their surface in between us.  The crickets are out there in the dark beyond the screen, they’re chirping.  Everything – every creature, even me – is releasing a dew into the air.  Did you plan this, mother?  Are you breathing onto the world?  Is this your soul revealed?  Is this what they feel like and smell like and taste like?  A soul: a club soda and a girl?

    “Can I ask you something?” she says.

    “I was hoping you would.”

    “Can I come to the funeral tomorrow?”

    I take a drink.  There are no answers in the carbonation.

    “Yes, I was hoping you would.”

    “Thanks.”

    She turns out towards the screens and the crickets.  Her elbow is on the honeycombed glass.  Her hand lays across her face, one finger draping the bridge of that nose.

    “She was a sweet woman.”

    “Thank you.”

    She looks back to me. She wants to speak.  She takes a drink first, admires it, or at least pretends to.  Maybe she is regarding it.  Maybe she wants this glass, this liquid to speak to her and show her something as much as I want it to, want anything to.  Crucifix, club soda, cricket, lacrosse ball, Cutty Sark.

    “How come you aren’t sadder?” she asks above her drink.

    “I am,” I say. “I loved my mother.  But there is a lot of life still out there.  There’s my father, whose probably passed out on the floor.  There’s me, the general mystery of myself.  There’s you.  There’s
crickets out there- a general strangeness of people.”

    She raises her eyebrows and laughs.  I feel my face getting red.

    “What?”

    “You speak beautifully,” she says.

    I’m going to kiss you now, I don’t say.  I kiss her.  I kiss her and I smell grass.  I smell the freshness of the soda water.  I can see James and myself as I feel her nose on my nose.  I can see James wearing a red lacrosse jersey.  He’s young, we’re both young.  We’re wrestling on the grass.  I was on top for a moment. I looked down at him.  He was laughing.  My brother was laughing hysterically.  I stopped.  The match was over.  But he turned me on my back quick and then was on top.  He was laughing and he wouldn’t stop until I started.  The grass on his arms. I feel it on my cheek now as I feel her cheek.  Then space.  The night dewy like a soul.  The crickets.

    “What is this?” I ask.

    “Cozy.”

1 comment: